Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Richard II: The Art of Kingship

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Richard II: The Art of Kingship

Article excerpt

Richard II: The Art of Kingship, ed. Anthony Goodman and James L. Gillespie (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999). xii + 299 pp. ISBN 0-19-820189-3. L40.00. This is an important collection of essays. While some revisit familiar issues, and adhere rather safely to models of biographical portraiture, e.g.: John Taylor on `Richard II in the chronicles', Nigel Saul, `The kingship of Richard IF, and Eleanor Scheifele, `Richard It and the visual arts', they provide salient coverage of their areas. There is admirably full and discriminating analysis of the larger political context in Richard G. Davies, `Richard II and the Church', and Caroline Barron, `Richard II and London', although psychological speculation about Richard's motives or tastes still mediates the political discussion. Anthony Goodman, `Richard II's councils', and Chris Given-Wilson, `Richard II and the higher nobility', address aspects of the challenges posed to Richard's kingship as the result of expanding baronial interests, but overall, the governmental problems posed by changing patterns of rulership and the altering composition of the status and wealth of the population might have featured more prominently in the volume. Pragmatic, as distinct from personal, aspects of government are addressed in Mark Ormrod's meticulously detailed essay on `Finance and trade under Richard II', which analyses how political management required an adroit handling of the volatile relationship between customs and subsidies. Similarly, Anthony Tuck's `Richard II and the house of Luxemburg' demonstrates the problems Richard faced in choosing a marriage partner given the complexities of alliances and hostilities in Europe. …

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